New NBA partner MGM to launch NJ mobile betting this week

1 August 2018

MGM has taken a strategic lead in US sports betting after becoming the official partner of the NBA and announcing plans to launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey before the end of this week.

The gambling giant held a joint news conference with the basketball association on Tuesday as details of the first major partnership between a US sports league and a betting company were unveiled. While no financial details were revealed, the three-year deal is believed to be worth $25m (£19m/€21m).

After answering questions with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, MGM CEO Jim Murren then told reporters that “at the end of this week, we’ll be taking mobile bets from Borgata and playMGM in New Jersey.”

New Jersey officials have yet to officially confirm a launch date for mobile and online betting. iGamingBusiness.com approached both MGM Resorts and the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement for further comment following Murren’s claims, but neither had responded at time of publication.

MGM’s staff will undoubtedly be consumed by enquiries about its deal with the famous basketball league, which allows it to use official NBA and WNBA data and branding on a non-exclusive basis across its land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the US.

The partners will also work together to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a digital content series. Incredibly, considering that just a few months ago the NBA and the other major leagues were fighting the legalisation of betting in New Jersey, the MGM Resorts brand will be promoted across the NBA’s social media platforms and NBA TV.

MGM CEO Murren was in no doubt that his company's deal with the NBA gives it a commanding edge over its rivals in New Jersey and the other US states where sports betting will soon be live.

He said: “Integrating the NBA’s assets and having official NBA data showcased across the MGM Resorts platforms will provide us with a distinct advantage and instil more confidence in knowing that our data is directly from the NBA.”

While the NBA joined with the other major leagues to oppose the introduction of sports betting in New Jersey, commissioner Silver called for the scrapping of PASPA as long ago as 2014.

Since then, the NBA has been the most vocal supporter of regulatory change in the major leagues.

Speaking about the MGM deal, Silver said in a statement: "As the landscape for sports betting in the US continues to evolve at a rapid pace, MGM Resorts is a proven gaming leader for us to work with on this groundbreaking partnership.

"Our collaboration will result in the best possible gaming and entertainment experience for consumers through the use of accurate, real-time NBA and WNBA data, and our collective efforts to maintain and enhance the integrity of our games."

The deal is not the first time that the NBA has entered into a deal with MGM. Last year, MGM acquired the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. MGM has also been the title partner of the NBA Summer League for the past two years.

It has been an eventful week for MGM, which has also announced the launch of a $200m joint venture with GVC and a partnership with Boyd Gaming that will see it able to offer sports betting in 15 states.

MGM's Borgata was the first casino to offer sports betting in New Jersey when it went live on June 14, shortly after the first bets were taken at Monmouth Park.

Speaking on Tuesday, Murren emphasised that his company's existing playMGM platform and experience in Nevada gives it the opportunity to launch quickly and establish supremacy in New Jersey.

“Fortunately we have a running start here, because we operate the largest sports betting operation in Las Vegas with our 10 resorts," he said, according to PlayUSA. "We hub out of the Mirage property, but as you know, we own properties up and down the Las Vegas Boulevard. And our playMGM app has been active for quite some time and is already quite popular.

"Closer to home here, of course we own Borgata, and at the end of this week, we’ll be taking mobile bets from Borgata and playMGM in New Jersey."